Media server s/w - Plex too slow

Is there a good media server s/w package out there? My NAS is a Seagate Personal Cloud which works very well as a drive from any PC or laptop in the house that's mapped to it. It's more than fast enough. Reading it via the iPad Naim app is dog slow though, to the point where it usually times out before it's got everything across so I end up with Artists A to about T with gaps if I'm lucky, and nothing beyond. This is with Plex, supposedly one of the best media server packages. If I run the Seagate built-in s/w it's hardly any better, and lacks the logical ordering of albums by artists and a few other niceties that Plex does have when it works

It's not as if it has a million tracks to load; there are about 900 CDs (albums) and 7000+ tracks. I thought it was the old slow iPad at fault but the new one - which is noticeably quicker in all other respects - displays the same problem. So did my half-decent Android phone. Do others suffer this? What's the workaround?

Original Post

It may not be the Seagate but potentially could be rate limting wi-fi connectivity.

Equally Plex might be too demanding for the Seagate to run well (I assume you installed it and it wasn't there when it came?).

Asset UPnP and Minim server are well favoured for NAS devices that can run them or for PCs/Macs, but no idea if they'd run on the Seagate.

I suspect the NAS isn't up to the job of running Plex.  It appears to have a low end Marvel processor and only 512mb of ram.

With Plex running it probably is bringing down the performance of the other media server as Plex is a hungry application.  I tried Plex on a Netgear Readynas (RN104) which has the same processor and memory as the Seagate and I found it wouldn't run Plex to an acceptable speed, it was as you have found, unusable.  

I now use the Netgear for overnight backup duties and have a QNAP which runs Asset for my music.

As a workaround you may wish to try uninstalling Plex, or setting the NAS not to run it on startup if possible to see if the internal media server then gets enough horsepower from the machine to run satisfactorily, albeit with a lower feature set than Plex.

Longer term I would suggest a NAS that runs Asset and/or Minimserver.  QNAP is better in this respect as it can run both without mucking around. If money is tight and knowledge is good a Raspberry PI can run Asset or Minim very well.

When I was researching a new NAS at the end of last year, I found out that Plex is very demanding and a quad core CPU with 2 GB of ram was the minimum.

if you search on Plex media server requirements, Plex support set out some specs.

  I was not impressed with Plex when I tied it, OK my Synology doesn't have enough CPU if indeed that is a requirement that holds it back,  but it seems to be aimed at video rather than audio & I found it did not have the speed, ease & simplicity of Synology's Media Server or the presentation of Minimserver.  

You ask about a "media server" ... but to be clear are you wanting to just stream audio or video too?

Plex is (IME) great ... so long as you run it on a something with reasonable processing power and your outlook is primarily video.

For audio streaming, you would do better with either MinimServer or AssetUPnP - but neither of those have packages for your Seagate Personal Cloud.

You could purchase a Raspberry Pi and use that as the UPnP (media) Server which will access the NAS via standard file sharing (SMB typically).  Not sure what level of computer technical skills you have though.  Alternatively replace your Seagate NAS with one from QNAP or Synology which offer wider compatibility with third party servers.

Plex is superb, I have used it for years. However it wont run well on poor hardware, people that have had a poor experience are probably running it on like 256megs of ram or something.

The seagate device looks to be woefully underpowered, hence its price I guess, its not going to be a great experience with any server that needs to do practically anything on it. 

To be fair to the Seagate I picked it up in a JL sale a few years ago intending to use it as a NAS / backup drive, then it was co-opted for my first foray into streaming with the Cambridge Stream Magic. It ran its own server s/w until I uninstalled that and dropped Plex onto it, which worked ok. Maybe there's a quantity of tracks / albums / artists below which it's ok. 

It doesn't have any video to deal with, just audio, As above, the Pi is probably going to be put to good use in the near future. It looks like a worthwhile exercise once the WC, TdF etc are out of the way.

For an alternate view, I know it’s fashionable around these parts for users to run their media server on their consumer NASs... after all it’s simple... it ultimately is not always ideal.. NASs use embedded computers, often with purpose aligned operating systems for the task in hand.. they are not really general purpose server platforms.

So when it comes to using more advanced server functions (like Qobuz proxying) , I prefer to use a server like a RPi2 or higher (like Eloise suggested). These are very capable micro servers that are about the size of a box of kitchen matches... and with a case and usb power supply are about 50 to 60 pounds. I prefer to leave my NAS for managing storage and I leave my software apps such as media servers apps to run on my micro servers... I also don’t run the risk of an errant app (like resource leaks etc)  potentially compromising the integrity of my NAS... but then as I am an ICT engineer I guess I see and experience the negatives of what can happen 

Not sure I agree. My qnap runs my Plex perfectly fine. Its not a vastly powerful CPU either just a standard intel Quad-Core. It also serves all my video needs and Audio too when away from home and  runs a VM in a docker, bubbleupnp server and minimserver as well as hosts all my music files and does backups from laptop and phones.  Never falters. Best purchase I have made in this regard and the qnap os is a doddle to use.

SimonPeterArnold posted:

Not sure I agree. My qnap runs my Plex perfectly fine. Its not a vastly powerful CPU either just a standard intel Quad-Core. It also serves all my video needs and Audio too when away from home and  runs a VM in a docker, bubbleupnp server and minimserver as well as hosts all my music files and does backups from laptop and phones.  Never falters. Best purchase I have made in this regard and the qnap os is a doddle to use.

Plex running on an Intel based NAS with sufficient memory is worlds away from running the OP's NAS which uses a Marvel processor and 512mb ram.  It's like comparing running server software on a mobile phone to a (half) decent PC.

Plex say that their product doesn't require a lot of memory to run, 2gig is sufficient, the OP has 512mb.

I use Plex very successfully on my QNAP which is a 453Pro with 8gb of ram but my Netgear which is similar in capability to the Seagate was not viable.

If the OP wishes to stay with the Seagate then the PI solution is excellent, I used this for some time and SIS also prefers this method.  It certainly saves buying another NAS, especially when there is a PI waiting to be used.

ChrisR_EPL posted:

As above, the Pi is probably going to be put to good use in the near future. It looks like a worthwhile exercise once the WC, TdF etc are out of the way.

In case anyone has similar issues, firing up up the Raspberry Pi 3 and dropping in a half-decent server package - Minimserver in this case as a try-out - has resolved the issue at a stroke. There are a couple of tweaks to the Pi config to make sure the NAS mounts at boot and to make the desktop visible in the VNC viewer but it works just fine. All albums / artists etc displayed almost instantly. 

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